The Star embroiled in HWL Ebsworth cyber-attack amid tragedy for law firm

The Star embroiled in HWL Ebsworth cyber-attack amid tragedy for law firm

The Star Entertainment Group (ASX: SGR) has revealed itself to have been embroiled in a cyber-attack on HWL Ebsworth Lawyers almost a year ago amid a challenging time for Australia’s largest legal partnership which is grappling with the sudden death of managing partner Juan Martinez this week.

Almost a year after the April 2023 data breach, the casino operator has made public news that patrons and employees are among those who lost personal information to the Russia-linked hacking group BlackCat.

In a public notice issued by the casino operator, The Star says that while its own systems were not impacted by the April 2023 cyber-attack, it has urged patrons and staff to be aware of any activity via email and phone contact that could be construed as suspicious.

The warning from The Star comes follows an investigation announced last month by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) into how HWL Ebsworth handled the security and protection of personal information held prior to the cyber breach.

The attack is understood to have led to 4 terabytes of data stolen from internal files at the law firm, with the hackers demanding a ransom of US$4.6 million ($7 million) in bitcoin from HWL Ebsworth to prevent the release of the data.

Investigations by HWL Ebsworth with McGrathNicol found the threat actor, also known as ALPHV, took certain information on a confined part of the firm’s system, and published some of the data on a dark web over a three-week period in June 2023.

The Star says that personal information relating to some patrons and employees of The Star was taken via the data breach, along with details for other clients of HWL Ebsworth.

Among the data noted by the casino operator to have been secured during the attack are names, dates of birth, email addresses, physical addresses and phone numbers; employment information; identity credentials; physical signatures; driver licence numbers and scans; passport scans; credit card details; Medicare card scans; Centrelink or Concession Card numbers; Medicare numbers; health/medical information; superannuation account details; bank account details; insurance information; and financial information.

The Star says as HWL Ebsworth provided legal services to the group, it held this personal information in connection with those services.

“Not all of these types of personal information were present for each individual,” says The Star.

“This list is provided as a guide for the range of possible impacted personal information.”

The Star says it appreciates that “it has taken some time for this notice to be provided since the incident was discovered”.

“This is because a very large volume of data was extracted but the extent of the impact to personal information was not immediately apparent to HWL Ebsworth,” the company says.

“A complex and comprehensive manual review was required to assess what personal information was involved and to identify affected persons.”

The Star says that while it has contacted affected clients and staff directly, it has issued the public notice because it hasn’t been able to determine accurate contact details for some of the people affected.

The announcement by The Star follows the tragic passing of Martinez on Monday night from a medical issue that has been reported by some publications as a suspected heart attack.

The Melbourne-based managing partner of HWL Ebsworth was 64 and had led the firm since 1998. Martinez has been lauded as the driving force behind the law firm, overseeing its growth to more than 1,600 staff including 277 partners.

Business News Australia has sought comment from HWL Ebsworth following the death of Martinez.

Subscribe Now!
Four time-saving tips for automating your investment portfolio
Partner Content
In today's fast-paced investment landscape, time is a valuable commodity. Fortunately, w...
Etoro
Advertisement

Related Stories

Lendlease abandoning offshore markets to recycle $4.5b into Australian opportunities

Lendlease abandoning offshore markets to recycle $4.5b into Australian opportunities

Development and construction giant Lendlease Group (ASX: LLC) has t...

Former DanFX director sentenced to jail for fraud

Former DanFX director sentenced to jail for fraud

Daniel Farook Ali, the former director of unlicensed foreign e...

Insect protein scale-up Goterra signs breakthrough offtake deal with fish feed group Skretting

Insect protein scale-up Goterra signs breakthrough offtake deal with fish feed group Skretting

The Australian arm of the world's largest fish feed business Sk...

Cettire comes out swinging against claims short sellers are amplifying ‘fake product’ allegations

Cettire comes out swinging against claims short sellers are amplifying ‘fake product’ allegations

Online luxury goods retailer Cettire (ASX: CTT) has alleged it is b...